AIA Health and Wellness Study Reveals Malaysians Value Optimism and Gratitude

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Overall key findings of the Healthier Together study across selected Asia-Pacific countries
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  • AIA’s “Healthier Together” study reveals eight key ingredients that contribute to Healthier, Longer, Better Lives, with 54% of Malaysian respondents adopting at least four ingredients 
  • Malaysians indicate that having an optimistic outlook is the most essential ingredient that makes up a healthier, longer and better life. 
  • Malaysians look for the positives in everyday situations, and the power of gratitude goes a long way in helping Malaysians achieve this. 

AIA Group Limited (“AIA” or the “Company”: stock code: 1299) has released findings from a ground-breaking research initiative, “Healthier Together”, revealing the eight key ingredients that go into living “Healthier, Longer, Better Lives”. The survey across six Asia-Pacific markets revealed Malaysians have an optimistic outlook on life while looking for the positives in everyday situations through gratitude. 

The study was conducted by global data insights company Kantar Group and involved in-depth interviews with more than 80 experts from a broad spectrum of professional disciplines in Malaysia and across Asia-Pacific. Study findings were then validated through a survey of 6,000 consumers in the region, including 1,500 respondents in Malaysia, which not only identified tangible actions people can take to improve their health and wellness, but significantly, validated the hypothesis that people already taking these actions are at less risk of being negatively impacted by the uncertainties of COVID-19 and a post-COVID world.

In terms of how well Malaysians perform in living Healthier, Longer, Better Lives, just under a third reported high adoption of the eight ingredients with 29% rating themselves as adopting at least seven of the eight ingredients and over half (54%) saying they were achieving four or more.

Malaysians also indicated the relative importance of “having an optimistic outlook” as the most important ingredient in contributing to Healthier, Longer, Better Lives, which aligned with the other five markets surveyed. However, Malaysians also identified “be active and engaged” and being “self-motivated” as the two ingredients most Malaysians need to adopt – indicating a need to remain social, physically and mentally active while improving their ability to find and define their own sense of progress and motivations in life.

Stuart A. Spencer, AIA Group Chief Marketing Officer, said: “The AIA purpose, which underpins everything we do, is to help people live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives. It’s therefore critical to gain a deep understanding of what people can actually do to achieve this, and how we can help them, beyond the obvious steps of exercising, eating healthily and getting sufficient sleep, particularly in the context of COVID-19.” 

Ben Ng, Chief Executive Officer of AIA Bhd. echoed the same sentiments: “In today’s world, it is easy to access information that helps us understand what factors contribute to living a healthy life. However, there is an underlying gap between understanding what leads to a healthy life and knowing what actions help us elevate the way we approach our overall health and wellbeing.”

“Through the study, Malaysians now have a better understanding of what they need to do to live Healthier, Longer and Better and together with the support of our Total Health and Wealth Solutions and our unique behavioural change programme, AIA Vitality – we are fully committed to enabling a better quality of life for all Malaysians.” Ben added. 

A significant body of new insights and data was gathered from interviews with academics, life-coaches, psychologists, mental health experts, influential authors, healthcare representatives and influencers from leading institutions, business and government. 

The study produced eight specific ingredients that are most influential in helping people live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives. These were: 

  1. Have an optimistic outlook: Look for the positive things in everyday situations, not letting negative events of the past affect the present and finding enjoyment in work.
  1. Be active and engaged: Be an active member of your wider community, remain socially active with friends and family, and remain physically and mentally active.
  1. Self-motivate: Focus on your own personal goals, look for ways to make work/tasks/chores more engaging, and see setbacks as learning opportunities.
  1. Understand yourself and your emotions: Understand what motivates you in life, understand what is important to you in life, and understand your limits/strengths/weaknesses.
  1. Feel a sense of independence: Feel confident identifying what is right for you, focus time and energy on things you can control, and be capable of improving your mental health.
  1. Maintain quality relationships: Focus on giving people your full attention, be open and honest with others, and seek out like-minded people who share similar interests.
  1. Never stop learning or exploring: Explore new ideas and engage with new things, challenge your own thinking, and be open to change.
  1. Make time to recharge: Create clear boundaries between work and personal time and find ways to recharge your energy levels.

The survey asked the 6,000 participants across Asia to rate their performance across these criteria. Key findings included: 

  • Across the six markets surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region, an alarming 85% of respondents rated themselves as not sufficiently adopting all eight ingredients, leaving just 15% who believed they are. This group of “high performers” in living Healthier, Longer, Better Lives, reported that COVID-19 had less of a negative impact on their health and wellness efforts than the remaining 85%. 
  • By far, the most important ingredient across all markets was “an optimistic outlook”, which was 2.3 times more common amongst the group of people that scored highest on the survey.
  • A pathway to improved health and wellness and one that is the easiest first step for people to take is “make time to recharge”. 
  • 46% of Malaysians only achieved three or fewer ingredients, indicating that there is a gap between being aware of what helps them live healthier, longer and better and the actual actions to achieving it.
  • By far the most powerful action to improve one’s optimism in Malaysia is to take time to reflect on things you are grateful for. Notably, Malaysia stands out against other markets where gratitude is more important in driving optimism compared to joy.
  • Only 41% of Malaysians state that they are adopting the ingredient “be active and engaged”, while 43% of Malaysians are “self-motivated”, which were the two least adopted among all eight ingredients for Malaysia.

Stuart A. Spencer added: “The findings of this unique piece of research now deliver to us a clear pathway to living Healthier, Longer, Better Lives. Healthier Together identifies real actions people can take to improve their physical and mental well-being, and real clarity about how to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives, which has never been more important to us all than it is right now.”

The complete findings of the AIA Healthier Together study and survey can be viewed at: www.aia.com.my 

As part of the insurer’s efforts to spur meaningful conversations about health and wellness during these challenging times, AIA recently launched the “Hoping & Coping Through the Pandemic” video series which features AIA’s Global Ambassador David Beckham together with 14 other AIA regional ambassadors including AIA Malaysia’s very own Nicol David – coming together to share their personal experiences and approach to practicing a healthy lifestyle during the pandemic. Check out their candid and heart to heart conversation here: https://www.youtube.com/AIABhdMalaysia/videos 

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